May elections are a challenge for Burundi as UN closes mission

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Flag lowering ceremony. UNDP/Aude Rossignil

Burundi's biggest challenge will be holding peaceful elections, a UN Spokesperson has said as the United Nations Office in Burundi winds down.

Vladimir Monteiro who is with the UN Office in formally war-torn Burundi says the mission has helped put the country in a far better position than it has been for years as it awaits elections in May.

"The main achievement is related to the promotion of political dialogue. When the mission was set in 2011 following the elections, relations between opposition and the government were s really bad. We were able to launch a dialogue in March 2013 with the adoption of a roadmap signed between the opposition and the government, which means that we were able to put Burundi and the electoral process on the right track." (29")

The spokesperson's comments come as the UN Office prepares to leave the country at the end of the month.

The UN Office or BNUB, as it is known, was set up in January 2011 after Burundi's last elections were boycotted by opposition parties in 2010.

It was tasked with a Security Council mandate to strengthen the independent of key institutions including Burundi's judiciary and parliament.

Inter-ethnic rivalry between Hutus and Tutsis has scarred the country's recent history.

Hundreds of thousands of people perished in fighting even before Burundi gained independence from Belgium in 1962.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations.

Duration: 1'29"

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